- - Monday, April 11, 2011

Danson to visit Virginia to support new book

Actor Ted Danson is coming to Norfolk to promote a book co-written with a former Virginia reporter, the Associated Press reports.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Mr. Danson is due at Prince Books on April 23. He will be there to promote “Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them.”

Mr. Danson wrote the book with Norfolk writer Mike D’Orso, a former Virginian-Pilot reporter.

Store owner Sarah Pishko says she’ll need to rent some chairs for her store, which holds about 100 people.

Mr. Danson and Mr. D’Orso are expected to answer questions, but Mr. Danson is signing only copies of the book.

‘Glee,’ ‘Modern Family’ win GLAAD Media Awards

“Glee,” “Modern Family” and “Project Runway” are winners of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 22nd annual Media Awards, Associated Press reports.

Prizes for outstanding comedy series — “Glee” and “Modern Family” tied for the win — and reality program were among those presented at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday. Actor Sean Hayes presented entertainer Kristin Chenoweth with the Vanguard Award. Dolly Parton presented NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.

“Fort Worth Speech” on “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” was recognized as the year’s outstanding TV journalism segment, and “I Love You Philip Morris” was honored as an outstanding film in limited release.

The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and the issues affecting their lives.

Rutgers students want Springsteen, not Snooki

Some students at New Jersey’s largest university think Bruce Springsteen is their salvation, according to the Associated Press.

They have started a Facebook campaign called “Let’s Bring the Boss to Rutgers!” to counteract fallout from a recent appearance by Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.

The Rutgers University Programming Association paid the “Jersey Shore” reality-TV star $32,000 to answer questions. That’s $2,000 more than the university will pay Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison to deliver the commencement address.

Freshman Daniel Oliveto and junior Paul Tranquilli are spearheading the effort. Mr. Oliveto tells the Asbury Park Press that Snooki’s message to “study hard, but party harder,” was offensive.

The students hope Mr. Springsteen would either perform or have a question-and-answer session similar to the sit-down Snooki gave last month.

‘Coal’ reality show prompts citations for mining firm

The first episode of a reality show filmed in a southern West Virginia coal mine had real-world results: Federal inspectors who watched the Spike TV series have cited Cobalt Coal Corp. for activities they say endangered the miners.

In the debut of “Coal,” a worker at the Westchester mine in McDowell County used the wrong tool — a 12-inch pick hammer — to pull down loose roof rock for a dramatic collapse that was caught on camera. The Mine Safety and Health Administration said the tool was too small for the job and put workers at risk of being struck by falling rock.

MSHA also cited Cobalt for moving the continuous mining machine when it wasn’t cutting coal and allowing a worker to walk alongside, creating the potential for a crushing injury.

It’s the first time MSHA has written a violation based on TV footage, spokeswoman Amy Louviere told the Associated Press.

“However, this is the first time that a documentary like this has been taped underground, to our knowledge,” she said. “If violations are obvious, they will be cited.”

The show debuted March 30 and was seen by 6 million viewers in the first week. The second episode aired Wednesday night.

The violations were written April 5, on the first anniversary of a massive explosion that killed 29 miners at Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine, another southern West Virginia operation.

Cobalt CEO Mike Crowder said he won’t judge the motives of MSHA inspectors, but the citations don’t make him regret doing the show. Even mistakes, he said, can become teaching tools.

Audition booths set up to find ‘X Factor’ singers

Simon Cowell wants to make sure he finds the most talented singer for the U.S. debut of “The X Factor.” That’s why he has set up audition studios in Nashville, Tenn.; Anchorage, Alaska; Kansas City, Kan.; and Denver throughout April, Associated Press reports.

“It probably isn’t as fun as attending an open audition, but it is your chance to be seen and heard, and I’m going to try to put these in as many cities as possible,” the former “American Idol” judge said last week in a teleconference with reporters.

Mr. Cowell will be joined on the judges panel by Antonio “L.A.” Reid, former chairman of Island Deaf. Jam Music, when the show premieres on Fox in September.

“The X Factor” is based on Mr. Cowell’s British-born hit series. At stake is a $5 million recording contract.

Those invited to the booths to sing must be at least 12 years old and can be solo artists or vocal groups. Each audition will be sent to the show’s producers, and those selected will take part in callbacks.

The decision has not been made about who the third judge will be, but Mr. Cowell said that Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie has come up in discussions.

TV on DVD: Who shot J.R.?

Devoted fans of “Dallas,” the prime-time CBS soap opera that enjoyed a 14-season run starting in 1978, will not want to miss “Dallas: The Movie Collection” (Warner Home Video, $26.98).

The cliffhanger-heavy scandals of the Ewing family compactly play out over these three supplemental made-for-TV movies. They include 1986’s “The Early Years,” which explores the Barnes-Ewing feud in the 1930s. Next, “J.R. Returns” from 1996 finds some of the cast back to really conclude — or maybe not — the regular series. Finally, “War of the Ewings” from 1998 offers a final attempt to please the nostalgic “Dallas” viewership with Bobby and Sue Ellen still in control of Ewing Oil and still fighting J.R.

An extra 90-minute presentation, “The Return to Southfork” delivers the cast reunion show from 2004. It’s loaded with memories and clips starring many of the regulars, including Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Charlene Tilton and Linda Gray.

Compiled from staff, web and wire reports.

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